In the spirit of the New Year, this week quite a few of our experts were looking to clean up shop and take care of business, be it reexamining the Enterprise CMS or rethinking your customer approach.

With the expected release of the latest version of SharePoint later this year, our authors offered advice for how to get your enterprise up to speed to ease the transition with as few bumps and glitches as possible. Still not using SharePoint? Look no further than a handy piece filled with all the vocabulary you need to convince every department. And before you make these transitions, be sure to have a good governance plan in place.

Our contributors also shared the view from the outside-in, urging us to consider the customer’s point of view in decision making. There are experts out there to lead the way, but do you really know who you’re hiring? Read on to find out if you do.

SharePoint’s Coming, Better Get Ready

SharePoint at the Crossroads

Joe Shepley (@joeshepley): As you would expect, Microsoft is being predictably tight-lipped about the next release of SharePoint, but that doesn’t mean we’re not all anxiously awaiting SharePoint 2013/14. In January 2012, two years after the release of 2010 and five years after the release of MOSS, dynamic document management is at an interesting crossroads.

  1. Those of you who have SharePoint 2010 in place
  2. Those of you who have older versions in place
  3. And those of you who have no SharePoint in place

Although the answer to each of these will depend on many factors peculiar to your organization, I feel there are some clear right and wrong answers and, despite being a strategy consultant, I’m going to shoot straight here and tell it like it is.

Selling SharePoint 2010 to Your Enterprise

Mimi Dionne (@cawprhyd): Communicating how your organization may implement SharePoint 2010 best is a very delicate message. Clearly communicating the value for every department, while acknowledging their different needs, is an important step in the implementation process. Introduce the language below to market gingerly towards the user community and the project implementation team. Intersperse these phrases in tandem with less records jargon-specific terms.

The Art of SharePoint Success: Strategic Lenses - Enterprise CMS & Collaboration

Symon Garfield (@symon_garfield): Happy New Year and welcome back.

In our last article we began to explore a series of "strategic lenses" which I use to help clients understand and articulate their SharePoint related goals. We discussed value, knowledge management and intranets. In this article we’re going to wrap up on strategic lenses with Enterprise Content Management and the "C" word — Collaboration!

Overhauling the Next Version of SharePoint My Sites

Chris Wright (@scribbleagency): My Sites in SharePoint have always been a divisive subject. Some people love them, others aren’t so keen. SharePoint 2010 brought with it a huge improvement in the features and functionality available in My Sites, and the next version of SharePoint is likely to see a similar leap forward. It would be a big surprise if these "next generation My Sites" didn’t take some directions from the world of social networking — Facebook, Twitter and others.

SharePoint 2010 was released in the middle of 2010. Social networking was big, but it's grown a whole lot bigger since. Functionality has moved on and user expectations have been raised considerably. My Sites have a lot of catching up to do if they are to offer the enterprise anything close to the experience users receive on the web. So will Microsoft take inspiration from social networking sites or choose to work with them?

SharePoint Third Party Products to Watch in 2012

Chris Wright (@scribbleagency): Arguably one of the reasons for SharePoint's success over the last few years is the ecosystem of third party products and developers that help to support it. Generally speaking, if you want to add to or expand the standard SharePoint feature set, there is a product or plugin that fits the bill. Visual workflow design, list and document level backup and a hundred weather webparts — all can be readily and easily added to your SharePoint environment.

Cleaning House, Taking Names, Working Together

Retroactive Governance is Better than Nothing

Daniel O’Leary (@danieloleary): You won’t have to try too hard to imagine this scenario: you installed an application for a specific department to solve a certain task — let’s call it marketing automation and team sites in SharePoint. A few months later you come back to find that it has spiraled into dozens of other departments and the system is growing like an insatiable IT monster, set to consume all of your time and resources. And now the fun part: your executive team wants to know how people are using it and why your million dollar projects look and feel a lot like unmanaged shared drives. What do you do?

Managing Enterprise CMS User Accounts

Jed Cawthorne (@jedpc): When thinking of Enterprise Content Management scenarios, be they document and records management, web content management or even collaboration and social business software, a very unglamorous element of designing, building and implementing these systems is managing the user accounts. So as we start a new year, let us take a reflective moment to consider this important, if often overlooked element of managing our content.

Is Your Intranet Legal?

Martin White (@intranetfocus): There are a number of legal issues that intranet managers need to be aware of, and some apply to websites and any application with a web browser even if it is not an intranet.

Let me start by saying that I am not a lawyer and I guess you are not one either, so the information and advice I have set out below needs to be verified with the legal team in your organization. In this column I am only addressing accessibility issues and the use of photographs on intranets. There are many other issues!

Collaboration Predictions for 2012

David Coleman (@dcoleman100): Every year I get asked “What’s next for collaboration?” I did 10 predictions for 2011 and followed up last month in CMSWire on how well I did with those predictions. I was about 80% right (by my reckoning): let’s see if I can be more accurate this year. Some of my predictions for 2011 did not come true. Oracle did not acquire OpenText, but maybe that will happen this year, since there is a good relationship already.

This year, keeping some of my 2011 predictions in mind, I have 10 new predictions that cover a wide range of collaboration topics from community management to reinventing the supply chain. Don’t get your elves all in a twist, there will be plenty about technology. In this article I offer my first two predictions:

  1. Broken Meetings are Changing
  2. From Teams to Crowds

Enough About Me, What About You?

Customer Experience Innovation: A View From The Outside-In

Simon Lande: As enterprises search for more robust and targeted solutions from Web CMS providers to manage customer experiences, it is important to consider the customer's perspective.

In the latest Forrester Wave Report for Web Content Management, analyst Stephen Powers writes about the Content Management vendors that have begun to lead the way in the customer experience (CXM) space, and identifies 3 core areas of evolution:

  1. Process-based solutions that enable business users to create experiences.
  2. Delivery solutions that bring interactive experiences to customers.
  3. Customer intelligence solutions that enable businesses to gauge the success of experiences.

While CMS vendors are certainly ringing the changes when it comes to web publication and delivery solutions, it’s important not to overlook a fourth category of solution which has been evolving just as fast — the Web Governance Solution.

The Social Business Army: Do You Want a Buck Private or Sniper?

Kelly Craft (@krcraft):As social business vendors grow, especially those who provide solution suites, there is a greater need for professional service consultants/analysts to undergo rigid vetting appraisals and skill certification testing similar to military training courses. It’s one thing to be dedicated to social engagement and quite another to be both committed to improving the business bottom line and the overall experience for the customers and having the skill to do so.

Mobilizing to Be More Engaged

Scott K. Wilder (@skwilder):While the goal of marketing is to improve customer's overall interactions with a brand, few organizations engage directly with their customer tribes or communities and therefore miss out on leveraging what is one of its most valuable assets.

Back to School

Will Apple's January Announcement Reinvent Textbooks?

Virginia Backaitis: Anyone who’s ever lugged a backpack full of textbooks across a large college campus has fantasized of a better way of transporting content to a lecture hall. Add a laptop, chargers and other ancillary electronics to the journey, and chances are that you'll be dialing your chiropractor in short order.

At some universities carrying such heavy loads is no longer necessary: textbooks, handouts, syllabuses, dictionaries and sometimes even lectures are available digitally — and can be consumed via an iPad, Kindle, tablet computer or eReader device.

Cool as this is, it’s yesterday’s news.

That's it for this week. Tune in next week for more insight and advice from our experts!